Max Frei (Макс Фрай)
Max Frei in 2007
Max Frei in 2007
BornSvetlana Yuryevna Martynchik (Светлана Юрьевна Мартынчик/Світлана Юріївна Мартинчик)
(1965-02-22) 22 February 1965 (age 58)[citation needed]
Odesa, Ukrainian SSR
SpouseIgor Steopin

Max Frei (Russian: Макс Фрай) is the pen name of Svetlana Yuryevna Martynchik (Russian: Светла́на Ю́рьевна Марты́нчик; Ukrainian: Світлана Юріївна Мартинчик) (born 1965 in Odesa, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union), a fantasy writer from Odesa, Ukraine. She writes in Russian and mostly publishes in Russia[1][2][3] while holding Ukrainian citizenship. She permanently resides in Vilnius, Lithuania.[4] Martynchik has collaborated many years on her books with her spouse, artist Igor Steopin (1967—2018).


Martynchik has Belarusian and German roots. She studied philology at Odesa State University, but dropped out without graduating. From 1986 she collaborated with artist Igor Steopin, whom she later married. The couple moved to Moscow, Russia, in 1993, to work at Marat Gelman's gallery. There, Svetlana started writing fantasy books.

The pen name, Max Frei, was invented by Martynchik and Steopin for their works on comic fantasy series Labyrinths of Echo ("Лабиринты Eхо"). The plot follows the eponymous narrator, sir Max, as he leaves our "real" world for phantasmagoric fantasy city of Echo. There, he becomes a member of special service that controls the use of magic. The books are written by Martynchik, while Steopin developed the Echo universe and illustrated the books. Along with her Echo books, Frei also participated in several literary projects. She compiled Fram, a series of short story anthologies by Amphora publishing house.

The couple moved to Vilnius, Lithuania, in 2004, out of their dislike of megalopolises.[4] There, Max Frei wrote four parts of magic realist Tales of the Old Vilnius.


Cycle of books "Labyrinths of Echo"

Cycle of books "My Ragnarok"

Cycle of books "Chronicles of Echo"

Cycle of books "Dreams of Echo"



  1. ^ Чупринин С. И. Русская литература сегодня. Новый путеводитель. М., 2009.
  2. ^ Чупринин С. И. Новая Россия. Мир литературы. Энциклопедический словарь-справочник. М., 2003. Том II. С. 34.
  3. ^ Огрызко В. В. Изборник: материалы к словарю русских писателей конца XX-начала XXI века. М., 2003. С. 258
  4. ^ a b Радио Свобода. История творчества писателя Макса Фрая. Ирина Петерс: «У Светланы и Игоря украинское гражданство, в Литве они с видом на жительство».